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the tinyblog returns

I am back! Some notes from retreat (yes, I could not help but blog):

I expected it to be a longer drive here, but much of the grunt work is done by the Tsawassen and Schwartz Bay Ferries. We only had to drive just past the Canadian border, about two hours.Then, off the Schwartz Bay Ferry, it's about 2 miles of regular road, and 6 miles up hill on a twisty, rocky dirt road that threatened to rip the pan from my Civic several times over.

Once up on the KDOL land, though, it was astounding. The air smells like wild honey and the view is tremendous. I quickly felt the amazing gravity of the place. I realized that it's a place that was built for the sole, pragmatic purpose of being a place where people can live and practice dharma. It is only the basic essentialsdining building, shrine toom, a kitchen/shower ("one shower every three days/ navy showers only"), a shrine room, and little cabins. The cabins have 2 neat little matresses, a little shrine table, and most importantly, doors that serve as effective barriers against mice and raccoons.

I have not seen any mice, but the local raccoon family is quite bold. We saw them several times in broad daylight hanging around the kitchen and the compost bin.

They are used to human beings who are trying to practice non-aggression, so they have little fear. If a door is left open, they will amble carefully in and nose around for food. Even the mice have little to fear. There are little traps stocked with peanut butter, but they merely confine the mice, and we have to check the traps periodically to make sure that they do not die of dehydration.

This may seem silly to some, but when you're sitting there trying to cultivate a state of mind that cares equally for every single being without prejudice and without exception...well, it's a little hypocritical to be setting deadly traps designed to crush the spines of a few little beings who committed the horrific sin of wanting to eat a bit of one's oatmeal.